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Composer biographies

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by pianolady, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Here, Chris, I have edited the biography. I was a bit confused by my CDs, as I thought I had two symphonies, but it seems he only wrote one... And my CDs are not too enlightening, as they were gifts from someone who copied them from I do not know which source and there is nothing whatsoever written on the booklet. There is no booklet, by the way.

    Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920)
    Though later overshadowed by Heitor Villa Lobos, Alberto Nepomuceno was the founder of the Brazilian national school.
    He was born in Fortaleza, capital of the north-eastern state of Ceará, in Brazil. He began his musical studies with his father, Víctor Augusto, a violinist and the organist of the Cathedral of Fortaleza. In 1872 his family moved to Recife capital of Pernambuco, where he continued his studies with his father until the latter’s death in 1880. In 1882 he became the director of the Recife Carlos Gomes Club and the following year was active as a violinist at the Santa Isabel Theatre. In 1884 he returned to Ceará and in 1885 moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he was active as a pianist at the Beethoven Club and formed a duo with the ’cellist Frederico Nascimento. In 1886 he took up his duties as teacher at the Beethoven Club while still learning harmony.
    In 1888 he played his Dança de Negros (Negro Dance) at the Iracema Club in Fortaleza, a piece with local colour, that was later re-elaborated, orchestrated and, renamed, Batuque it became the fourth and last movement of the Série Brasileira.
    In August of the same year he left for Rome to further his studies, thanks to an official award given him by the Brazilian government. He enrolled at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. He was able to continue his studies and in 1890 he entered the Akademische Meister Schulle in Berlin. He soon transferred to the Stern Conservatoire, graduating in 1894 with a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic, where he conducted his Scherzo for Orchestra and his Suite Antiga for strings.
    It was in Berlin in 1891 that he met Walborg Rendtler Bang, a pupil of Edvard Grieg, whom he married two years later in Christiania (Oslo). The couple stayed for a time in Troldhaugen, Grieg’s country house. Grieg was to prove a major influence both musically and as a model for Nepomuceno’s establishing of a Brazilian national school. His Suite Antiga (Suite in the Ancient Style), which he wrote in Troldhaugen in 1893, is clearly fashioned after Grieg’s Suite from Holberg’s Time. Grieg enjoyed the work so much that he insisted it be published by his own publisher, Peters.
    Another work from his Berlin period is His String Quartet No.3, written in 1890 and subtitled “Brazilian”, is one of the earliest attempts to weave Brazilian folklore into a work cast in classical forms. The same year saw the writing of his Piano Sonata in f minor, the first work in this form to be written by a Brazilian and where his fondness for Brahms is evident.
    In 1894 he travelled to Paris to study the organ at the Schola Cantorum and was able to met Saint-Saëns and D’Indy.
    The Following year the couple was back in Brazil, and he became organ teacher at the Instituto Nacional de Música in Rio de Janeiro. Between 1896 and 1906 he was active at the Popular Concert Association, promoting Brazilian composers. Considering that at the time Portuguese was not considered appropriate for opera or art song, it took some courage on his part to present a series of songs written in the vernacular at the Instituto Nacional the same year and he was much criticised for this.
    In 1900 he met Mahler in Vienna and discussed the staging of his opera Artemis, but nothing came of this. In 1910 he conducted concerts of Brazilian music, including some of his compositions, in Brussels, Geneva and Paris. It was in the latter he met and became a friend of Debussy.
    In 1913 his opera Abul was staged in Rome.
    Walborg and Alberto had four daughters, one of which, Sigrid, who was born with only her left hand. It was for her he wrote two sets of pieces: the 1906 Five Small Pieces, which were premièred by her at a school concert in 1907, and two nocturnes, which she played in concert in 1919.
    He resigned his position at the Instituto Nacional de Música in 1916, devoting the last fours years of his life to composition and to promoting younger composers, including Villa-Lobos.
    In 1920 fragments of his unfinished opera O Guarujá was presented by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Richard Strauss.
    Besides the works mentioned above, he wrote a Symphony in g minor, a romantic work, as well as a serenade for strings, in “the ancient style” but with Brazilian elements and many song cycles.
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have replaced the bio.
     
  3. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Thank you, Monica!

    This is a bit embarassing for me, but it seems I sent a draft instead of the final version. There are several howlers there. Could I please (with surgar!) ask you for the very last time to change it?

    I am sorry for this.

    Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920)
    Though later overshadowed by Heitor Villa Lobos, Alberto Nepomuceno was the founder of the Brazilian national school.
    He was born in Fortaleza, capital of the north-eastern state of Ceará, in Brazil. He began his musical studies with his father, a violinist and organist at the Fortaleza Cathedral. In 1872 his family moved to Recife capital of Pernambuco, where he continued his studies with his father until the latter’s death in 1880. In 1882 he became the director of the Recife Carlos Gomes Club and the following year was active as a violinist at the Santa Isabel Theatre. In 1884 he returned to Ceará and in 1885 moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he was active as a pianist at the Beethoven Club and formed a duo with the ’cellist Frederico Nascimento. In 1886 he took up his duties as teacher at the Beethoven Club while still learning harmony.
    In 1888 he played his Dança de Negros (Negro Dance) at the Iracema Club in Fortaleza, a piece with local colour that was later re-elaborated, orchestrated and renamed Batuque, becoming the fourth and last movement of the Série Brasileira.
    In August of the same year he left for Rome to further his studies, thanks to an official award given him by the Brazilian government. He enrolled at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and in 1890 moved to Berlin, entering the Akademische Meister Schulle. He then transferred to the Stern Conservatoire, graduating in 1894 with a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic, where he conducted his Scherzo for Orchestra and his Suite Antiga for strings.
    It was in Berlin in 1891 that he met Walborg Rendtler Bang, a pupil of Edvard Grieg, whom he married two years later in Christiania (Oslo). The couple stayed for a time in Troldhaugen, Grieg’s country house. Grieg was to prove a major influence both musically and as a model for Nepomuceno’s establishing of a Brazilian national school. His Suite Antiga (Suite in the Ancient Style), which he wrote in Troldhaugen in 1893, is clearly fashioned after Grieg’s Suite from Holberg’s Time. Grieg enjoyed the work so much that he insisted it be published by his own publisher, Peters.
    Another work from his Berlin period, His String Quartet No.3, written in 1890 and subtitled “Brazilian”, is one of the earliest attempts to weave Brazilian folklore into a work cast in classical forms. The same year saw the writing of his Piano Sonata in f minor, the first work in this form to be written by a Brazilian and where his fondness for Brahms is evident.
    In 1894 he travelled to Paris to study the organ at the Schola Cantorum and was able to met Saint-Saëns and D’Indy.
    The Following year the couple was back in Brazil, and he became organ teacher at the Instituto Nacional de Música in Rio de Janeiro. Between 1896 and 1906 he was active at the Popular Concert Association, promoting Brazilian composers. Considering that at the time Portuguese was not thought appropriate for opera or art song, it took some courage on his part to present a series of songs written in the vernacular at the Instituto Nacional the same year and he was much criticised for this.
    In 1900 he met Mahler in Vienna and discussed the staging of his opera Arthemis, but nothing came of this. In 1910 he conducted concerts of Brazilian music, including some of his compositions, in Brussels, Geneva and Paris. It was in the latter city he met and became a friend of Debussy.
    In 1913 his opera Abul was staged in Rome.
    One of Walborg and Alberto’s daughters, Sigrid, was born with only her left hand. It was for her he wrote two sets of pieces: the 1906 Five Small Pieces, which were premièred by her at a school concert in 1907, and two nocturnes, which she played in concert in 1919.
    He resigned his position at the Instituto Nacional de Música in 1916, devoting the last fours years of his life to composition and to promoting younger composers, including Villa-Lobos.
    In 1920 the overture to his unfinished opera O Guarujá was presented by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Richard Strauss.
    Besides the works mentioned above, he wrote a Symphony in g minor, a romantic work, as well as a serenade for strings, in “the ancient style” but with Brazilian elements.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    No problem. I have removed a couple more clonkers in this version, and put it up.
     
  5. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    ??? Other bloomers? I really need to ask an expert team to revise anything I write in future.

    I am now working on Oswald, but I am afraid he is not half as interesting as Nepomuceno.
     
  6. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Only nitpicking stuff, really. Just compare the text on the site to your posting.

    That is what you have admins for. I'll go over it anyway, and any typo will catch my eye (much as any wrong note catches my ear :p )
     
  7. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have finished Oswald's biography. Contrary to what I thought, he had an intersting life too and, though I dod use the scissors a lot, I am afraid it might still be somewhat long. It was a very good occasion to become acquainted with his work, though it is hard to come by. I hope there are no howlers here!

    Here it is:

    HENRIQUE OSWALD
    (1852 - 1931)

    Though considered a Brazilian composer, Oswald was of European stock and spent the better part of his life in Europe, his music fitting perfectly into the Franco-German Romantic tradition.

    He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1852, the son of a Swiss-German father (originally Oshwald) and of a mother from Leghorn, Italy. Both were musicians, his mother being the child’s first teacher.

    Around 1853 his father went to Sao Paulo, initially to sell beer, being later joined by his wife and child. The latter travelled in a ship that was transporting gunpowder. Halfway through the journey, a fire breaking out on board, all passengers were evacuated to a nearby island. The explosions were to remain etched in Henrique’s memory for the rest of his life.

    The father switched in 1857 to pianos instead. These were to become the child’s toys and by the age of six he was already giving concerts. Realising their son’s future lay in music and that Brazil could not offer him a proper musical education, his parents decided he continue his studies in Europe. Accordingly he left Brazil, together with his mother in 1868, being joined by the father some time later. The original plan had been to entrust the child to von Bülow, but they decided to settle in Florence, at the time capital of Italy.

    While still studying he was to make the acquaintance of Liszt.

    In 1881 he married an Italian singer and settled into the career of a teacher at a Florentine musical institute.

    In 1896 he went to Brazil on tour, being very well received by the critics, an event that encouraged him to return many other times. In 1889 he had the opportunity to play with Saint-Saëns, who at the time was also in Brazil.

    In 1900 he was nominated Brazilian Chancellor at The Hague, being soon after transferred to Florence.

    In 1902 the French newspaper Le Figaro organised a composition competition which was won by Oswald’s Il Neige! (It Is Snowing!). The jury included Fauré and Saint-Saëns.

    In 1903 Oswald returned to Brazil, being nominated director of the Instituto Nacional de Música by the Brazilian president. No born administrator and feeling he could no longer compose, he resigned after three years, but remained active as a teacher, while still retuning regularly to Europe.

    In 1911, the year of his sixtieth birthday, he and his family settled in Rio de Janeiro. For the next twenty years he taught, while his house became an important musical centre for chamber music.

    He was to maintain friendships with Rebikov - director of the Moscow Conservatoire - as well as with Arthur Rubinstein, Milhaud – who was for a time in Brazil as a member of the French diplomatic corps - Claudel, Moszkowski, Pierné and Isidor Philipp. He played host to Respighi when the latter visited Brazil on honeymoon.

    His son Alfredo’s - a pianist, composer (and, following a stroke which paralysed his left side, one of the few composers to write music for the right hand) and performer of his father’s work in the United States – taking religious orders spurred Oswald to compose music for the Church.

    Just days before his death he was awarded the Legion d’Honneur by the French government, a decoration he received posthumously.

    He composed ,mostly for the piano, but besides a symphony and two concerti, one for piano and one for violin, he wrote three operas, copious and high quality chamber music and a cappella choral works of rare loveliness.

    More information (in Portuguese) on the composer can be found at: http://www.oswald.com.br/site2010/hoswald1.htm
     
  8. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have a picture of his too. How can I send it?
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks Richard ! You can attach the picture right here. Or mail it to me.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, the Oswald bio is up, including the pic you sent me. Thanks again !
     
  11. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    In the end it does not seem so long after all. I suppose removng some paragraph marks did the trick! I meant to edit the picture, but you have done it exaclty how I would have done it, so thank you! Just a question, why did you change the spellings of organise and realise to organize and realize?

    I mention Rebikov and what should happen the very same day? I find a score written by Rebikov and dedicated to Oswald!

    I shall now go to work on Vaughan Williams.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Because my browser's spelling checker suggested so :)
    But I was assuming my browser would use the European locale (because it knows damn well where I live). Not so apparently :x
    So I've changed it the wrong way....

    You'll have to record that now. I've never heard anything by Rebikov, shame on me.

    Cool ! One of my favorite composers. Be sure to mention his mighty symphonies and other symphonic and choral works.
     
  13. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I have lots of things I want to record, but at present... We have workmen drilling on the ground floor and my daughter is apt to go behind the piano and start singing or comes or comes and plays. While this might be fun, I am sure you will not put any such recordings up and I will not blame you either.

    Of course, the nine symphonies and the g mass, which I enjoy a lot, will get mentioned!
     
  14. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    May I be a nity-picker too, Chris? Could you change one little word on first paragraph of the biography of Oswald?

    Where it reads:

    Though considered a Brazilian composer, Oswald was of European stock and spent the better part of his life in Europe, his music fitting perfectly into the Franco-German Romantic tradition. He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1852, the son of a Swiss-German father (originally Oshwald) and of a mother from Leghorn, ITALY. Both were musicians, his mother being the child’s first teacher.

    could it read:


    Though considered a Brazilian composer, Oswald was of European stock and spent the better part of his life in Europe, his music fitting perfectly into the Franco-German Romantic tradition. He was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1852, the son of a Swiss-German father (originally Oshwald) and of a mother from Leghorn, TUSCANY. Both were musicians, his mother being the child’s first teacher.

    ?

    In fact, when the mother was born Tuscany was a sovereign state.

    Is anyone working on Stanchinsky?
     
  15. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ah sure, it is important that we be politically and historically correct :D
    I have also taken the liberty to replace Leghorn by Livorno. Or is there good reason to use the non-Italian name ?
     
  16. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Well, Leghorn is the name of the city in English and it does make me look as if I did not know that. The same as Isay The Hague and not Den Haag and Florence and not Firenze.

    Look at it this way: when a place is important it has names in different languages and Leghorn is historically very important.
     
  17. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    From Wikipedia:

    Livorno About this sound listen (help·info) (Italian pronunciation: [liˈvorno]),

    traditionally called Leghorn (English pronunciation: /ˈlɛɡhɔrn/) in English,


    is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009. The second-largest port on the western coast of Italy, Livorno supports substantial cruise-ship tourism to Florence and other destinations in Tuscany and Umbria.
     
  18. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, I may as well use both names, for those who may not know that Leghorn and Livorno are the same place.
    I thought actually it was the German name :oops:
     
  19. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    I once worked for an import-export company which shipped thriught that very city. All my e-mails went out saying "Leghorn". I realise this is not PC, but while I do do my best to be historically correct and I never knowingly wish to give offense I do not care a hoot for being politically correct. I shall probably end up being shot one of these days for it.

    As I asked befere, is anyone working on Stanchinsky's biography?
     
  20. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    THROUGH I meant!
     

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